A5 Tutor feedback and response

 Overall Comments

I commented that I had really enjoyed working on this assignment, having to produce, control and direct the project certainly stirred my creative juices. We spoke about how I have continued to incorporate the theme of the passing of time, using myself and a lifelong friend as ‘models’. It was noted that my planning and preparation was well documented in my Learning Log, but that I need to ensure I capture as much of my research as possible in my notes (not just in my head).

Inventive work! The tableaux-vivants are well constructed and the dresses are both amusing and interesting in the way they work as 2D images within the photograph (montage effect).

 I think currently the idea needs drawing in a little. A fifty-word summary of the essence of your idea will help shape your decision as to whether to use one image, or two (and which). We discussed this during the phone tutorial and I have since pulled together a summary. See final submission here.

Feedback on Assignment
General and specific comments on the Assignment (whether a practical or written assignment)

 Technical and Visual Skills

  • My image demonstrates detailed planning of the set and layout, lighting.
  • Visually, the models dresses give a montage effect – photo on photo.
  • Careful planning of the dress colours against the backdrop offered a good contrast. I explained that I didn’t shoot any close-ups because the surrounding scenery played an important part in the framing.
  • Tutor commented that the ‘friend and foe’ pairings highlight how space changes when friendship is compromised.
  • We discussed the importance of including a contact sheet in my preparation notes to show the full range of photographs I had to select from.

 The final selection needs to be made carefully, Janet, taking into consideration the combined conceptual and qualitative elements of framing, focus, backdrop (esp. sky).


  • It was agreed that I had been successful in portraying my intent – combining reality and fantasy/past and present.
  • I feel I have been bold and innovative and have shown evidence of gaining inspiration from a varied range of reading and research.

 A very creative interpretation of your idea. As discussed, you need to show an awareness of the politics of gender identity/representation, as this is implied almost accidentally within the work, albeit not the main intention. Is there a feminist aspect to the work? Did boys’ comics of the same era have pin-on clothes..? Being honest, I had not considered the feminist aspect, I was totally preoccupied with childhood memories and the fun of dressing up (even as an adult!).This has made me more aware of the need to involve and seek the views of others – in particular fellow students. I have now included further research in my blog as well as in the body of my assignment.

 Quality of Outcome

  • I stated that I was very happy with the final images in that they portrayed my intention.
  • I feel the narrative is loaded with symbolism in a conflicting scene and meets the criteria of the brief. – Expand on this in your learning log?
  • We discussed including more of my research material in the body of the assignment to acknowledge wider reading in relation in my subject.

Does the piece have a title? The quote you have selected works very nicely and reminds me of a refrain from the song ‘My Back Pages’, by The Byrds: ‘I was so much older then; I’m younger than that now’. I had decided to use the ‘Alice’ quote for the title because I think it does work and is very fitting.

Consider the ‘liminal’ connotations of the twilight skies, which add to the work’s temporal ambiguity (dusk? or twilight?) Philosophically this kind of sky is connected with notions of an “in between” place of “reality” and another world (or dimension – in this case, another time). Hegel’s ‘Owl of Minerva’ may be of interest if you wish to delve deeper. For my formal assessment submission, I have decided to use two images depicting twilight skies. I have read Peter Davidson’s wonderful book “The Last of the Light” and referred to it in my final submission. I will also look into “Owl of Minerva” with great interest!

As ever, my advice would be, take a step back from the work and try approaching it from the perspective of the ‘objective viewer’; this is your best vantage point for self-critique when making that final image selection. (“What am I looking at? What’s the message here?”) This is more applicable than ever when preparing to submit your work for assessment. Good advice, thank you.


  • I had worked through all the exercises and projects leading in to the assignment.

We discussed how I should include and capture more of my reading and findings in my Learning Log to show clear links to my work.

  • Research tab: My tutor recommended that I separate out visual and theoretical research study elements for clarity and ease of navigation. Actioned.

For context (sorry – we didn’t discuss this by phone) – a little research on, to show awareness of, the pictorial tradition of ‘tableaux vivants’; i.e. in definition and in contemporary practice (e.g. in the work of Tom Hunter or Jeff Wall). Barthes discusses the tableau-vivant in ‘Camera Lucida’, which you’re already familiar with. I have researched Jeff Wall and Gregory Crewdson.

Learning Log

  • I have included reflection on the assessment criteria in the assignment submission to tutor.
  • It was noted that I had amended my Blog to include only work for the current Context and Narrative course.
  • I have ‘hidden’ the menus from the side panel to avoid confusion and keep the blog simple.

 Suggested reading/viewing

. Check out feminist artists in relation to representation and identity – links to my assignment. Themes within this, I would suggest for future work, would be masquerade; parody; self-representation.
. The Photographers Gallery – Feminist Avant Garde of the 1970s. Particularly Martha      Wilson’s ‘A Portfolio of Models’ and Cindy Sherman’s ‘Bus Riders’. Themes: assumed identity; projected identity; masquerade;
·  Dawn Woolley – “The Substitute” – feminist angle and use of image-within-image.
·  Maria Kapajeva – “Interiors”
·  Erving Goffmann – “The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life”

Well done, Janet, on completing the course in good time and on having made such progress in your creative thinking along the way. You have developed the personal, conceptual threads, which emerged in your early assignments, to good effect – particularly through your essay and final assignment. Make sure your learning log does justice to your ideas & research.